The fourth quarter manufacturing outlook study which has been released by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation and BDO, the business advisory firm, suggests the sector is seeing improved export prospects.
A spokesman said: “While key indicators moving back into the black is a positive development, risks remain on the horizon, some-Brexit related, and others potentially stemming from elsewhere in the world.
“As a result, despite the improvement in conditions, EEF is still forecasting that manufacturing will contract in 2017.”
Andy Tuscher, EEF region director for Yorkshire and The Humber, said: “This is the most upbeat reading on the state of manufacturing we’ve seen for some 18 months and signals the start of brightening conditions for manufacturing, which had been briefly knocked off course following the referendum. This anticipated turnaround can be attributed to a range of factors including the resilience, thus far, of the UK economy but also the strengthening of demand in a number of major markets. Critically, this should spur some new investment and recruitment activity to meeting new customer demands.
“While confidence is back on the up, manufacturers are still cognisant of growth challenges in the near term. Brexit aside, global growth is not yet on the firmest of footings and, with volatile exchange rates also in the mix, UK manufacturers will need to continue to be nimble in their responses to emerging challenges and opportunities in the months ahead.”
Jason Whitworth, corporate finance partner and head of manufacturing at BDO LLP in Yorkshire and The Humber, said: “Despite uncertainty at home and abroad, UK manufacturing is proving to be resilient.”